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There are upsides to the Pac-12’s disintegration!

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Potato and Chicken Salad with Salsa Verde Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Good morning, and Happy Independence Day weekend! More on that later.

Before you read any of my nonsense, listen to this podcast. I disagree with a couple ideas, specifically the Big Ten’s intentions for other Pac-12 schools, and the nonsensical idea of a nerd conference, but much of it is dead on. Dan Wetzel summed up this whole episode of Pac-12 ineptitude with two words: You. Dumbasses.

It’s in reference to George Kliavkoff and the others filing a “Hurt Feelings Report” when presented with the opportunity to get nearly guaranteed access to an expanded College Football Playoff. If Kliavkoff had accepted and advocated for the golden ticket, we’re probably not here today. Instead, he “looked the Big Ten and ACC commissioners in the eye” and formed a sham “alliance”, all but signing his conference’s death warrant. Good job. Good effort.

But enough with the negativity. You may or may not be aware that the Pac-8/10/12 - as us olds knew it - is on a ventilator, which will be removed in 2024. That may sound like a bummer to many of you, but the team at Hot Cougar Action Sunday HQ is here to assuage those concerns! We are famous for seeking out positivity amid what many would view as bad news, so let’s do that once again. Someone somewhere famously coined the phrase “making chicken salad out of chicken sh*t”, so let’s do just that!

Point: The dissolution of the Pac-12, and WSU’s possible relegation to a less-powerful conference will hurt recruiting.

Counterpoint: Nonsense! If anything, the Cougs have a head start on everyone when it comes to signing classes full of guys with Mountain West and Big Sky offers. Our staffs have been recruiting at this level for years!

Point: If Washington and Oregon are able to flee for some place like the Big 12, the Apple Cup rivalry could die along with it.

Counterpoint #1: I fail to see the downside for WSU here! Matter of fact, all the Cougs have to do is win the 2024 game and permanently affix the Apple Cup to the trophy case in which it currently sits.

Counterpoint #2: In the meantime, we can come up with a trophy for the new end-of-season game against (probably) the Oregon State Beavers. It definitely needs an agricultural theme since both are land grant schools (OSU even used to be called Oregon State Agricultural College). My vote is something that depicts the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. And no, I don’t know how that would work, but it would look a hell of a lot better than this crime against humanity, aka the CyHawk Trophy, which was thankfully scrapped in about 30 seconds.

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Point: Trips to places like Tempe and the Rose Bowl, especially later in the season, were so much fun, and a great respite from the PNW weather.

Counterpoint: What, you don’t think you can have a good time on a November Thursday night in Laramie? There will be so few people in the bleachers that you can build your own igloo between Sections D and E!

Point: Whatever conference WSU ends up in will have a much worse TV contract, driving our school deeper into debt.

Counterpoint: WSU Athletics hasn’t ever made money anyway, so we’re experts at sustaining semi-mediocrity while bleeding cash! Another head start on the competition!

Point: Welp, this is it. WSU is gonna end up in the Big Sky.

Counterpoint: You’re an idiot.

Death of the Pac-12

Will Big Ten expand further after seismic power grab? Here's why that may not be the case Not only are the Pac-12 and Big 12 weakened right now, but the disastrous decision last January by the Pac-12 and ACC to not agree to a proposed playoff plan that included automatic bids leaves the future in doubt.

Pac-12, ACC had chance to save themselves. Instead, it was an all-time botch job.
The decision by the Pac-12 and ACC in January to block a 12-team, six-automatic-bid College Football Playoff proposal could go down as most ill-advised in the history of college athletics.

USC and UCLA to the Big Ten: What's Next for the Pac-12, Big Ten and College Football? - | Expert Predictions, Picks, and Previews
USC and UCLA are headed to the Big Ten. What's next for college football, the Pac-12, Big Ten and the Big 12?

Canzano: Phil Knight can help put the Pac-12 back together again
Sense of urgency arises in Pac-12.

Pac-12 ‘to explore all expansion options’ after UCLA and USC announce exit to Big Ten in 2024
One source in the conference told ESPN on Friday “it’s wide open” as far as who the Pac-12 would consider inviting, but added the Big 12 and ACC are worth exploring.

Podcast of Champions – A podcast dedicated to Pac-12 football.
In a rare EMERGENCY edition of the Podcast of Champions hosts Ryan Abraham and David Woods, who had wished Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff a happy one year anniversary earlier in the week, now try to make sense of the horrific anniversary present that arrived on his door step courtesy of the Los Angeles schools.

Funny Tweets about the Death of the Pac-12

Jon Wilner: Our Pac-12 Carnac the Magnificent

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for many of Wilner’s opinions (especially the time in 2018 when he said that unbeaten UCF would be ranked higher than 1-loss WSU), but goddamn he killed it this week. He was the reporter who set everything off, first with a quite nebulous tweet:

49 minutes later, the hammer:

I will admit to being incredibly skeptical of this report, largely because as the rest of the college football reporting ecosystem began pulsing sources, words like “deliberations” and “exploring” appeared, and I didn’t think this was as far along as Wilner seemed to indicate. For the millionth time, I was way off.

A couple days later, Wilner tried to address several open issues related to the cataclysmic events of June 30 via online mailbag, and I found myself nodding vigorously along with his analysis.

First up, a question about WSU to which he and everyone else already know the answer.

But were the Hotline to offer a Fear Factor list — the Pac-12 schools with the most to lose in the next 18-24 months — the Cougars would be at the top, followed closely by Oregon State, Stanford, Cal and Colorado.

Then, part of an answer regarding Cal and Stanford’s future hit the nail squarely.

Yes, the Bay Area is a huge media market, and that mattered a decade ago when it was all about how many cable homes were in your footprint.

Now, the main driver is brand value: Fox and ESPN will pay for the football programs that generate ratings and are most likely to land in prime TV windows. Neither Bay Area team clears those bars.

Bingo. I am getting rather tired of the banter regarding “hurrrr Seattle market! durrrr.” As Wilner said, this isn’t 2011. We are past the media market size and well into brand value. Stop talking about media market size when speculating on this topic. It doesn’t carry nearly the weight that it used to.

The Pac-12 issued a statement on Thursday in which it declared an “unwavering … commitment” to continuing as the Conference of Champions and looked forward “to partnering with current and potential members.”

Ignore it.

Sweet Jesus, if anyone (especially you, Kliavkoff) believes that the schools are most concerned about sticking together in lieu of their respective self-interest, I will turn this car around! Kliavkoff should have learned this lesson when Texas and Oklahoma fled to the SEC. Instead, he kept his head in the sand and presided over the death of his Power Five conference.

With its survival at stake, the conference must expand the scope of potential membership.

Geography no longer matters.

Academic reputation no longer matters.

Religious affiliation no longer matters (in theory).

The Pac-12 should consider anyone and everyone, from Boise State to San Diego State to SMU.

I hadn’t thought of SMU, but it should be near the top of any list of schools considered for inclusion. I would put them, along with San Diego State and Fresno State ahead of Boise.

USC Football: Arsonist and Fireman

Bottom line up front: I do not blame USC one bit for following the cash eastward. What I’m not here for is all the sanctimony.

“The Pac-12 was dragging us down...We shouldn’t have to play Friday road games...We don’t get a bigger revenue share than the also-rans...” blah blah blah. And a hearty “LOL” to the east coast bias. USC is the one - THE ONE - school that has never suffered from that.

You know what, USC? You conveniently forget the part where both you and the conference would be in a much better spot IF YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO DYSFUNCTIONAL OFF THE FIELD AND SUCKED SO MUCH ON THE FIELD FOR MUCH OF THE LAST DECADE PLUS! GTFOH with your nonsense and just admit you took the money. It’s fine.

And while we’re on the topic of money, it better be a hell of a lot, because given the travel that the adults just saddled on the athletes (especially in the non-revenue sports), it’s rather clear that the people in charge don’t give a damn about the mental and physical toll all those cross-country trips will take on the players.

Finally, you can read this as part of John Canzano’s article, linked above.

You’re going to read and hear a lot in the coming months about the role USC’s Carol Folt played in the Trojans’ move to the Big Ten. Per multiple conference sources, Folt assured her fellow Pac-12 chancellors and presidents and even Kliavkoff himself that USC was committed to the conference — until it wasn’t.

Oh, what it must be like to have a complete absence of ethics, and a willful disregard for honesty. Sometimes I wish I’d been raised that way, but in the end, a conscience and strong sense of what is right prevented that.

Football Recruiting

Ok, on the actual good news front. The Cougs got a couple commitments this week, both from guys who ostensibly had offers from other Power Five schools.


Remembering the Palouse Empire Cougars: Alaska semipro league provided Washington State, Bobo Brayton a midnight baseball bonanza | The Spokesman-Review
During the summers of 1986 and 1987, the Cougars played their first several games in Pullman, traveled to Alaska for a month and played games there before returning to Pullman for the last month of the season.

This Week in Parenting

Team Kendall was down to three this week, as the teenager headed off to Switzerland on a Boy Scout camping trip. The first dispatch on Monday morning was suboptimal.

Oh no. Well, hopefully things will get better tomorrow.

I mean, that’s a little better I guess? Thankfully, the rain ebbed, but only for a day or two. On the last full day, this arrived in the morning.

I mean, this is basically an owner’s manual for people like me, who have never seen a good reason to sleep outdoors. Plus, he did this voluntarily! So of course, the sun came back out when it was time to leave. All in all, despite the wet conditions, he told us that he had a fun time. Plus, I don’t suspect that many of his fellow Scouts at the Troop in Florida will be able to top his weeklong camping trips to Croatia and Switzerland. So at least there’s that!

On the home front, we moved out of the house and into temporary lodging while the teenager was away, and the 10 year-old quickly became bored out of his mind. How bad did it get? He actually admitted that he - gasp - misses his brother! Unfortunately, I was too late to get that quote on tape, because he will certainly deny ever having said it.

The 10 year-old also enlightened us with some facts that he claims to have learned from his health book. Did you know that sweat stimulates hair growth? I sure didn’t! This was so perplexing that I asked him what to make of bald people. “Bald people don’t sweat” was the response. So now you know!

Old Man Yells at Cloud

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve noticed a lot of military creep into 4th of July celebrations in the last 5-10 years, and it grinds my gears. Military folk are often honored on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day etc. etc. July 4 is a holiday for all Americans, not just those who wear the uniform.

This has been my TED Talk.


Did the FBI Steal Nine Tons of Civil War Gold? - The Atlantic
“I’m going to find out what the hell the FBI did and I’m going to expose it to the world.”

How many lives have been saved by covid-19 vaccines? | The Economist
A new study estimates that the number is greater than the population of Chile | Graphic detail